Bottega Louie–A Mega Bottega

Bottega Louie opened in 2009 in downtown Los Angeles and is in good company with some of the finest restaurants in the area.   The 10,000-square-foot paean to the good life is more than a marble and brass palatial restaurant/gourmet market/patisserie with 20-foot ceilings.

No detail has been overlooked. More than three years under construction, Bottega Louie also has a European style bakery and about 200 employees. The bakery creates 800 pastries a day and is a destination throughout the city for its pastel-colored macaroons.  In addition there is a counter devoted to 20 kinds of breads and  a brick oven churning out pizzas for takeout. It is a crazy place–exuberant and boisterous–and all the time we had to turn our backs to the sumptuous patisserie for fear of ruining our appetites.

After a ten minute wait to get a table (not bad!),  we selected from the Sunday brunch menu, starting off with two appetizers:  prosciutto and burrata (since we are burrata bingers),  a delicate dish with basil and olive oil drizzled on top, nested on a crispy potato pancake.

Portobello Fries and Sliders

And then their famous portobello fries. Forget the mantra about no fried foods.  These were absolutely (and mysteriously) greaseless, in a light flaky batter subtly spiced with rosemary and served with a very small cup of aioli so we couldn’t overdo the fat content. We cannot figure out how to duplicate this dish–mushrooms absorb everything so they should have been limp and soggy with oil, instead of erect and crispy.

For our main dishes we had a salmon millefeuille, delectable smoked salmon with crème fraîche, layered on thin sheets of puff pastry, similar to spanokopita.  A wonderful dance of flavors and colors.

One of my favorite sandwiches is meatball parmesan and the restaurant’s interpretation is a plate of three sliders, each with fresh gooey mozzarella and a light tomato sauce on each giant meatball.

 

We like to finish with a light veggie or salad dish and chose the Mache,  a green salad of frisée, bay leaf-brined roasted chicken, avocado, celery, scallions, julienned snap peas, Meyer lemon & extra virgin olive oil.  A delicious, super fresh collage of greens with wonderful textures and crunch.

The next day we ordered out a burrata pizza– thin wood-oven baked crust with creamy burrata cheese, prosciutto, and kale,   Bottega Louie has been ranked the #1 pizza place by many food websites, often neck-and-neck with Osteria Mozza (see my last post).  I don’t think you can go wrong with this restaurant! So, for all those of you in the downtown area or just wishing to explore, this is a great find!

A word of warning:  Reservations are not taken, but people-watching is entertainment in itself and makes the time pass quickly ogling fashionistas and more unusually-dressed attention-seekers.  Now next time I simply must taste the macaroons!

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